alprazolam, Xanax, Xanax XR, Niravam (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

PRESCRIBED FOR: Alprazolam is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are characterized by unrealistic worry and apprehension, causing symptoms of restlessness, aches, trembling, shortness of breath, smothering sensation, palpitations, sweating, cold clammy hands, lightheadedness, flushing, exaggerated startle responses, problems concentrating, and insomnia. Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of alprazolam.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of alprazolam taken at lower doses are drowsiness or lightheadedness, which probably reflect the normal actions of the drug.

Side effects of higher dosages (those used for panic attacks) include:

  • fatigue,
  • memory problems,
  • speech problems,
  • constipation, and
  • changes in appetite with resultant changes in weight.

Alprazolam can lead to addiction (dependency), especially at high doses over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of alprazolam after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue. Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. Consequently, patients on alprazolam for extended periods of time should slowly taper the medication under a doctor's supervision rather than abruptly stopping the medication.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2014


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